Jill Murphy, DPT, LAT, CSCS
Question: Can I still work out if I have fibromyalgia?
Answer: Absolutely! Exercise is one of several very effective treatments for fibromyalgia, and can assist with back and neck pain, muscle achiness, insomnia, and overall feelings of fatigue and malaise, the typical symptoms of fibromyalgia. There is one caveat though, if you have not been working out for a while, be sure to start very slowly. With fibromyalgia, your nervous system is extra sensitive, and this sensitivity extends to the body’s response to exercise as well. Start out with 5-10 minutes of gentle exercise, 5 days a week for 3 weeks. During this time, you may feel slightly worse after working out, which is normal and to be expected. After 3 weeks of steady working out, you will start to feel the benefits of exercise for people who have fibromyalgia, including less fatigue, more energy, improved sleep pattern, and less overall pain and achiness. Once you reach this point, you can gradually increase your work-out time and intensity by adding 3-5 minutes of additional exercise every 1-2 weeks. Some great work-outs for beginners include walking, biking, walking in a pool, elliptical, and swimming.
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